Research - Hoofdinhoud
In cooperation with other scientific institutes in Europe, the Montesquieu Institute (MI) will focus on research and education in
-the parliamentary history and political culture of the EU member states and that of the European Union, and
-the constitutional relations and developments within the European Union.
Apart from study of (Dutch) national parliamentary history, the centre will devote itself to promoting comparative study of the national parliamentary systems within Europe in a historical perspective, and to study of the decision-making organs within the European Union and of integration of European decision-making in the parliamentary systems of the Member States.
To this end, the Centre will have to provide support for researchers from the Member States by creating a conceptual framework encompassing the various actors, activities and forms of parliamentary development involved, and by making flexible research formats and research tools available.
One of the features of the comparative study of the mode of operation of the national parliaments will be the identification and refinement of best practices, as regards both the operation of the parliament itself and the implementation of European legislation.
It will be possible to cover a wide range of topics and historical periods, thanks to the expertise available in the institutes cooperating in this joint venture. In addition, the Centre will call on the services of specialized centres elsewhere in Europe and will do its best to involve as many researchers from the Member States in its activities as possible.
In view of its focus on parliamentary history, the Centre should promote interdisciplinary cooperation with researchers from related fields. The combination of different perspectives will lead to appreciable enrichment of the study of parliamentary history and constitutional development, and will hopefully increase the added value of these studies for society.
Apart from the Centre's own research, the Centre will perform its role as a catalyst by providing research facilities for researchers from other institutes and universities at home and abroad and by encouraging research in the Centre's field of interest by providing 'shining examples' of good practice. The areas to be covered will in particular include:
-study of the parliamentary history of the Member States;
-comparative study of the national parliamentary systems within Europe (development of parliamentary system, growth of political parties etc.);
-study of the organs of the European Union (from a historical perspective, among others);
-study of decision-making at a European level;
-study of the implementation of European decision-making in the parliamentary systems of Member States;
-study of the development of European political parties and their relationship with the political parties at a national level.
One of the Centre's tasks will be to stimulate group awareness among researchers of what other researchers in the field are doing, so that they can build on one another's results. Promoting cooperation between researchers at home and abroad, and where possible providing facilities for such research, are definitely among the Centre's key objectives.
The web-oriented electronic knowledge exchange network will play a key role in this endeavour by making not only the research activities but if possible also the conclusions, the underlying data and the research formats used readily accessible to researchers on a permanent basis.
Finally, the Centre will, in the framework of its search for wide social recognition of its role, regard it as an important task to distribute the information generated without delay and in a handy format to other relevant parties such as the media, politicians, the authorities and NGOs. The knowledge exchange network will provide useful support in the performance of this task too.